Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I Shared With The Ladies - Part 2

Continued from Part 1 ...

I struggled a bit when we moved to Australia. I was a new wife and in a culture I thought would be like mine but wasn’t. I found it hard to make friendships that went beyond the surface, which was a new experience for me. My family and therefore my ‘home’ were not here, they were still in Colorado. I was pretty lonely.

I’m not sure when it happened, probably because it happened gradually, but I realized that I had to make ‘home’ be where Rory and I were ... I had to start the journey my parents, and their parents before them had walked. I had to create the environment I wanted to live in, the environment I wanted my children to grow up in. I started becoming more intentional about creating it ... and things started to change. Certainly not overnight ... in fact, it’s still changing !!

Before we go any further, I want you to think about a couple of things ...

I actually had the ladies think about this and then come up and share at the retreat. It was great. I loved hearing their thoughts, in fact, I kind of wished I could just stop talking and listen to them all morning !! ha ha.

So ... I'd love to open up a discussion with you all too. I'd love to chat in the comments ... if you want to as well, go ahead and think about these questions and give me some of your thoughts !! I'd love to hear them !!

What do you want your family life to look like ? What kind of environment do you want for yourself and your husband ? What do you want your kids to remember about growing up ? How can you build these things into your family ? Maybe you’ll need to think about these a bit more later. They are the sorts of questions I ask myself. They are the sorts of things I use to keep my perspective right. Am I moving forward ? Does our family life reflect what we value ? What can I do to change the direction we are moving, if it doesn't ?

It is my opinion that life is meant to be enjoyed. Not in the sense that we deny anything that isn’t enjoyable. There is sadness in life. We walk through those times too, and we probably don’t enjoy them. I’m not talking about those times. I’m talking about the everyday. The day in and the day out. The life that can become mundane, if we let it. This almost happened to me ....

Jono had started school and Alia was about three. We had been living here for about a year and I had many surface friendships, but still longed for something deeper. I had Mum’s at the school who I chatted with outside the classroom but that was it. People at church who I said ‘good morning’ to but again, that was it. Though I tried to grow the relationships, everyone was too busy.

The kids and I had been away in America seeing my family, we’d spent six weeks there without Rory since he wasn't able to get time off from work. I spent a lot of time thinking about my life, and talking to my best friend about how I could change this circumstance I was unhappy with. We decided that I was too isolated at home, that I needed to somehow be involved with people in their “busy-ness”. I decided I was going to get involved in some things outside of my home. I joined the music team at church, I took a painting class that one of the school Mum’s was offering, and I asked if there was something I could do to help out at the place where I currently work ...

Let me give you a brief overview of the place ... just because I love it.

It started about 20 years ago out of someone’s home. Just a couple of families with a desire to do something different. Something that would be effective in reaching people not just on a Sunday but every day. The end result 20 years later, is a community centre open to everyone, and staffed by people who want to see lives changed. We run a swim school for over 300 kids all year long, we have a cafe where people enjoy coffee and great food and conversation, we have a gym with hundreds of members, we have squash courts that are booked out most of the time, we run futsal, netball, and badminton competitions every week, we have a small creche and care for children so Mum’s and Dad’s can work out, do a fitness class or just have a break for an hour or two, we have a skatepark full of young skaters, we facilitate (is this the right word?) a computer club, gymbaroo, a soccer club, special olympics basketball, kindermusic, the armed forces recruiters !! among other things.

It is a place full of people !!

There are ladies groups, a book club, prayer groups, business men’s groups, parenting courses, a seniors group, a playgroup, a youth group, a friday night program for kids, lifegroups and missions courses all happening regularly. And ... we meet as a church three times on Sunday, in the stadium.

This is where I asked if I could help out. As my strengths are in organization and administration, I started out volunteering a couple of hours a week in gym administration. Alia came with me. We’d set her up a blanket and she’d bring some fun toys and coloring in and she would play beside me while I worked. When I started doing a full day (well ... 9 - 2:30) she would bring her pillow and have a little snooze and after that we’d put a movie on for her to get her through that last hour or two. After a while I started doing two days a week. Alia would go up to the creche for a couple of hours in the morning to play with the other kids and then she’d come down and play in my office. After a couple of years, she started school and I settled in to working three days a week ... just during school hours. I enjoyed seeing the same people every day and the friendships that were forming. I enjoyed the work ... I love paperwork ! I enjoyed being part of something I think is important.

And then about 18 months ago, the lady who did all of the administration outside of the gym stuff I was doing decided it was time to move on. I was offered her job. I was not willing to work outside of school hours but decided I could probably do five days a week. And I did, until a couple of weeks ago. I have a great team working with me and now I have been able to cut back to four days a week ...

I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed working five days a week, because I love my job, but I was feeling like I needed some more time at home.

One of the things I tell people about organization, and I think it’s true of life, is that it’s a process. It’s continually changing. You can’t expect to organize your pantry, or your home, or your life one time and then that’s it forever, because things change.

Circumstances change.

Life changes.

Change is funny. I don’t mind it too much if I roll with it, it’s when I resist it that I find it a bit more difficult to navigate.

I think I can pretty confidently say that whether we are a stay at home Mum or a Mum who also works outside of her home, we are busy. We are consumed by people and tasks that need us. Especially when we have little ones. How many of us have cooked dinner with a baby on our hip and a toddler hanging off a leg ? How many of us have gotten out of the shower with shampoo still in our hair to see why the baby who was meant to be napping is screaming, only to have them drop back off to sleep just as we are rounding the corner into their room ? How many of us with little ones can remember the last time we went to the toilet by ourselves ?!

If we haven’t got a sense of purpose we can very quickly grow tired of it ! If we don't see the value in what we are doing, we may end up not wanting to do it at all ...

... stay tuned ! part 3 coming soon !


Ellie September 15, 2011 at 9:09 AM  

I don't know if comments will come in as fast on this post since you've asked for answers to the questions you've asked... But I'm gonna have to think about them... And now is time for dishes (I put it off long enough to read, but the truth is, the baby is happy and occupied, and I need to go clean up!)

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